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Moto G7 Play vs. Nokia 6.1: Which should you buy?

Nokia 6.1
Nokia 6.1 (Image credit: Android Central)

Nokia 6.1

The Nokia 6.1 isn't the newest phone these days, but it's still one of the best budget options in the U.S. It has a premium design, crisp display, more than capable specs, and even has an NFC chip for Google Pay. The biggest downside is that it only works on AT&T and T-Mobile.

Nokia 6.1

Worth the extra money

Sturdy aluminum design
Full HD screen
More RAM
NFC for Google Pay
Guaranteed software updates
Larger bezels
Only works on AT&T and T-Mobile networks

Moto G7 Play

The Moto G7 Play lacks in some areas compared to the Nokia 6.1, such as its display quality and RAM. It does get a few points for better battery life and its water-repellent nano-coating, but the real win is the fact that it works on any U.S. carrier you want — including Sprint and Verizon!

Moto G7 Play

Supports more carriers

Considerably smaller bezels
Up to 40 hours of battery life
Water-repellant nano-coating
Supports all U.S. carriers
Plastic design
Software updates remain uncertain

Spec for spec, the Nokia 6.1 is the phone we'd recommend first. It has a higher-quality display, more RAM, a surprisingly premium design, and is much more likely to get software updates down the road. With that said, if you rely on Sprint or Verizon as your carrier, the Moto G7 Play is the default choice.

What the Nokia 6.1 does better

When it comes to the Nokia 6.1 vs. the Moto G7 Play, there are a few things that Nokia does better to earn our overall recommendation between the two.

Nokia 6.1Moto G7 Play
Operating SystemAndroid 9 Pie
Android One
Android 9 Pie
Display5.5-inch
1920 x 1080
LCD
16:9
5.7-inch
1512 x 720
LCD
19:9
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 630Qualcomm Snapdragon 632
RAM3GB2GB
Storage32GB
Expandable up to 256GB
32GB
Expandable up to 1TB
Rear Camera16MP
f/2.0
1.0µm
PDAF
13MP
f/2.0
1.12µm
PDAF
Front Camera8MP
f/2.0
1.12µm
8MP
f/2.2
1.12µm
Battery3,000 mAh3,000 mAh
ChargingUSB-C
18W fast charging
USB-C
10W fast charging
NFC✔️
3.5mm Headphone Jack✔️✔️
Water Resistance✔️

Starting first with its design, the Nokia 6.1 feels considerably more premium. It's made out of 6000 Series aluminum and features a two-tone black and copper aesthetic. It's sleek, sturdy, and feels much more substantial in the hand compared to the Moto G7 Play's plastic construction.

The Nokia 6.1 handily beats the Moto G7 Play when it comes to screen resolution, RAM, and NFC.

The bezels surrounding the Nokia 6.1 are a clear reminder that the phone was released in early 2018, but the actual screen itself is better to look at that the G7 Play's. Both phones use LCD panels, but the Nokia 6.1 has a higher resolution at 1920x1080 for a genuine Full HD experience. The 16:9 aspect ratio does look a little odd by 2019 standards, but it's far from a deal breaker.

Feature-wise, the Nokia 6.1 also benefits from an extra 1GB of RAM and an NFC chip that enables you to use your phone for contactless payments via Google Pay.

Perhaps even more important, the Nokia 6.1 is part of Google's Android One program. This means it's guaranteed to receive software updates and security patches in a timely manner, and when compared to the Moto G7 Play and Motorola's notoriously bad update policy, that's a big win.

Why the Moto G7 Play is still worth considering

All of that should make it pretty clear why we prefer the Nokia 6.1 over the Moto G7 Play, and while that's true, there is one big reason why you should still buy Motorola's option — carrier compatibility.

Where the Nokia 6.1 only supports GSM networks such as AT&T and T-Mobile, the Moto G7 Play works on AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon. There are a lot of unlocked phones like the Nokia 6.1 that are only compatible with GSM carriers, so it's great that Motorola supports everyone.

The Moto G7 Play also gets some points for its water-repellent nano-coating, fewer bezels surrounding its display, greater expandable storage, and longer battery life thanks to the 720p screen, but if you're on AT&T or T-Mobile, the Nokia 6.1 still offers a more complete package.

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.